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Everything you always wanted to know about getting a massage…

Everything you always wanted to know about getting a massage…

Some people have told me that they’ve waited longer than they should before booking a massage because they were a bit nervous about it. I know there are a good few vouchers floating round out there, and a good few achy shoulders, so if you’re thinking of booking with me here is a quick rundown of what you can expect.

Environment

I work at home so it’s an easy, relaxed environment.  I play music while I work and you are very welcome to bring your own play list if you feel you might object to mine (mainly David Grey and Nick Drake). I also have a candle lit so you can pretend you are in a spa. I use fleecy blankets rather than towels as they are warmers, softer, and a darned sight easier to wash and dry.

Clothing

You are not required to get naked or remove any underwear, or indeed any clothing at all if you’d rather not. It’s harder to work though clothes, but I can do it. Generally people are in their underwear, under the blankets. I am skilled in the art of blanket draping and your modesty will be preserved. Ladies – no need to wear matching underwear just for me. I mean, cause, nobody actually does that every day….do they??

Modesty generally

I’ve seen it all and I’m not squeamish. However, if you’d rather I didn’t touch your feet/ old scar tissue/ticklish knee then please just say and I will avoid that area. Don’t worry about stretch marks, hairiness (guys or gals), or anything like that. Like I said, I’ve seen it all.

Lotions and potions

I use Physique massage lotion, a gentle, hypoallergenic cream, designed for athletes for whom (in Physique’s words) “hairy skin can be a real challenge.” It won’t clog hair follicles. Phew. I use Liz Earle Foot Repair moisturiser , and Biofreeze if pain relief is required.

When to see me

If you have fresh trauma to the body, for example, a pulled muscle, wait a few days for the initial swelling and pain to subside before seeing me. Ice the injury, elevate it, and compress it gently in the meantime. If you have an injury caused by a fall or impact, such as falling from a horse or being in a car accident it is important to get medical attention before coming to see me so you can make sure there is no structural damage. In some cases massage can make things worse, so see a doctor and get an x-ray if needs be. Ask the doctor if they think massage would be a wise course of action and go with what they say.

If you have long term pain, such as restriction and stiffness when moving, or pain when sitting for too long, come and see me as soon as you can so we can get rid of that pain and free you up.

When not to see me

In certain situations massage should be avoided. For example, if you show up with all the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, I will just send you to A&E. On a less dramatic level, please don’t and see me if you have a bad cold. If it’s just the sniffles, or you are pretty much over it, then that’s fine, but I don’t want the lurgy in my clinic or my home, not just for me and my family but also for my other clients. Please just call and we can reschedule your appointment for when you’re feeling better Likewise, if I am ill I will let you know so we can rearrange things. Other potential contradindications to massage include recent operations, early pregnancy, ongoing illness, or skin infections. However, often we can work around things, or we just need the ok from your doctor, so if you are unsure whether you should come and see me, please just call and we’ll work it out.

Timing

I charge by duration of treatment, so if you book a 60 minute treatment then it will last 60 minutes, not 55. Because of this, please allow 75 minutes for your first appointment so we have time for the consultation and admin. Obviously if you arrive late, this could eat into your time.

Please don’t arrive early as I don’t have a waiting room!

Pain

It might be painful, depending on your problem. However, I won’t just mash away at you though; wringing out your muscles won’t help them. Having said that, tight or damaged muscles will be tender to the touch.  Let me know if it’s too much and you need me to back off. Please don’t try and be brave, there’s no shame in asking for a gentler touch! Conversely, if you feel I could do more and be a bit firmer, tell me.  Everyone is different and it’s YOUR massage, not mine.

Afterwards…

I will get you a glass of water. Please try and drink it all. Massage is a dehydrating process and you will need to drink way more water than usual for the rest of the day. You may also feel a bit groggy and tired. Breaking down adhesions in muscles releases waste matter (eg lactic acid, not “toxins”) so your body with feel a bit run down as it flushes it all out.

I hope this helps!

Any questions just give me a call. I’m told I have a very pleasant phone manner.

Cheeky plug…

Gift vouchers are now available to buy online! Check out my new shop or check out the vouchers below.

Painful Reminders

Painful Reminders

It’s been a busy old summer, hasn’t it? Well, happily it was here at Dartmoor Massage. Since autumn hit like a bucket of cold sludge, I’ve been taking stock and the universe has sent me some useful things to consider; mainly about pain. Pain I inflict on people and pain people inflict on themselves.

Sometimes, I admit, my clients wince when I find a particularly tense or tender spot in a muscle, and I always ask them “good pain or bad pain?” Bad pain is there to tell is something is wrong, but hopefully the pain my clients feel is of the “good” variety. Yes, there’s good pain. Such as the pain of an aching, cramping knot of muscle tissue being released. My teacher (the incomparable Anna Maria Mazzieri) called it “exquisite pain” as it’s intense but actually rather pleasing. It’s the pain not of something being wrong, but of something being relieved. So at the risk of starting to sound a little E.L. James we can agree there is good pain and bad pain? The pain the day after a really good work out is good pain, in my opinion. The pain of pulling a muscle is bad pain. Ouch! Something is wrong.

This year I have been lucky in some ways because I haven’t experienced much bad pain. Yes, I’ve had colds and bugs (it’s the toddler in our house – not that I’m calling her a bug) but I haven’t been injured much.  However, I also haven’t experienced much good pain…mainly because I have not had enough massages myself. On Monday I was finally able to meet up with a colleague for a massage exchange and boy, was it worth it. Not only have I got my left shoulder sorted out (a continuing problem) but I have had a reminder of good pain. I’ve had a reminder of what it is like to receive a massage and a timely reminder of what my clients are going through as I attempt to iron out their problems. There is a fine line between the good pain of relieving tension, and the bad pain of working the muscle too hard, and although I’m always aware of the line, it helps to be reminded what it actually feels like to be on the receiving end. My colleague (the wonderful Lola May) and I have pledged to do a massage exchange at least once a month from now all. Let’s call it continual professional development.

On another note I was on the receiving end of bad pain this week as well. Towards the end of a pleasant (honestly) five mile run, I pulled a calf muscle. Like an eejit I kept running, hoping it wasn’t that bad, but I was forced to give up and walk the last couple of hundred metres. I always tell my clients not to run through the pain, and this pulled muscle serves as good reminder of the temptation to just keep going and hope for the best.  Stopping is easier said than done. In the space of a minute all the following thoughts went through my head: “it’ll ease in a sec”, “I’m nearly there”, “it’s not that bad.” It didn’t, I wasn’t, and it was. I limped home sadly.

I also always tell my clients to ice, elevate, and rest an injury, so I dutifully did the same and although my calf feels stiff this morning, it’s not as painful as it was yesterday.  In the coming days I will do some mobilisation, self massage, and in time, strengthening work to build the muscle tissue back up. It’s just a strain, which means a few tiny tears in the muscle fibres, but I don’t want to stress the area and cause a more serious injury.

Hopefully I won’t get more painful reminders of what it’s like to be injured, but this week has been useful from the good and bad pain perspectives.

I’m hoping that next week sends me some lovely reminders of what it’s like to healthy, wealthy, and fabulous. Please.

The longest day

The longest day

Today is the summer solstice and the start of summer. Of course it’s been raining, but hopefully it’ll brighten up a bit before Autumn kicks in again. It’s the longest day of the year and I thought another good time to check up on our New Year resolutions and see how things are going. I’m delighted to say that my lovely husband has now achieved his goal of running a sub-20 minute 5k. He’s always been a speedy runner but until recently his training methods consisted of going out and running as fast as he could for as long has he could before collapsing. Afterwards there would be some half-hearted stretching, some water and a maybe a piece of toast before either, if it had gone well, cracking open a bottle of Doombar perhaps, or if it had gone badly, sitting on the bed gazing glumly at his garmin and shaking his head. This time, however, he found a training plan and stuck to it. He did speed training, distance training, strength and hill work – the lot. And, crucially, he didn’t push his luck. When he felt a bit of pain and stiffness in his thigh he rested it and didn’t “run through the pain,” which I might have mentioned before is not a good idea. Sure, he may have missed one or two of his training sessions but it is much better to miss a few of these than have to pull out of the race due to injury.

If you build up your training too fast, run too far too soon, lift too much weight too quickly, you might not pull a muscle immediately, but you will overwork your muscles, creating tiny tears as you go. You might not feel it but believe me, it’s happening. It’s called Overuse Syndrome.  If you don’t give your muscles time to recover between training sessions, these little tears grow, the muscles weaken and suddenly RRrrrip. Yep, that’s a big owy ripped muscle. Deary me. Should have rested between sessions yes? Massage also helps, obvs.

Overuse syndrome aside, this is about playing the long game. Fitness and strength take time, and building it up slowly makes it all the more rewarding when you get the results you want. The same is true of massage. Each session is beneficial and you should enjoy the process but you need to keep at it for a while if you want the results to last. Muscle memory is very powerful and if your muscles have been doing the wrong thing, or not even doing very much, it takes time to get them healthy again. But it’s worth it. It really is.

And yes, I’m harking on about “the long game” as both my parents and my husband have achieved their New Year resolutions and I’m still working on mine (the 10k at pre-preggo best). I’ve done it before and I can do it again

Keep at it, peeps! Eyes on the prize.

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Testimonials

I have complicated and long standing shoulder and back problems. Lily listened really well when I described them and as she examined what was going on she was really thorough and clear in her explanation of what she found and what she was doing to address the issues. I found her to be very helpful and highly recommend her.
Sarah

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